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Louise Damen shrugs off Olympics snub
6:03pm Wednesday 17th October 2012 in Sport
LOUISE Damen showed she has put Olympic disappointment behind her in the first round of the Hampshire Cross Country League.
Overlooked by Great Britain for London 2012 in the women’s marathon, the Winchester & District AC star stormed to victory at Farley Mount.
By the time the senior ladies race was sent away there had already been five other sets of feet to muddy the ground.
But this did little to deter runaway race winner Damen, who triumphed by a minute and a half from Aldershot’s Grace Baker, who is still an Under 20 athlete.
Laura Brenton (Southampton AC) was third, with Aldershot securing first team place with Winchester second.
In all, there were eight races spaced out over three hours, with 32 clubs from six counties all vying for position.
Farley Mount has always proved popular at the start of the autumn, especially since the chalk grassland drains so well.
Despite the counter attraction of the National Road Relays in Mansfield, it was always likely that Aldershot Farnham & District would field teams across the board to maintain their dominance of the League that appears to be almost their birthright now.
The final race of the afternoon, as is tradition, was the senior men, covering a distance of 9.4 km over a four lap course.
That caused a little congestion towards the end of the race due to lapping of runners still on their penultimate circuit.
The highly competitive race was won by Bournemouth’s Steve Way from Rowan Axe (Aldershot) and Johnny Davies (Reading AC).
Team gold, almost inevitably, went to Aldershot on a day when they fielded two others squads in the National Relays.
Reading grabbed second spot from Winchester AC who had a successful day on their home turf.
There is a four week gap before League battle recommences when Chichester Runners host the second round on Saturday November 10 at Goodwood Racecourse.
This weekend local races that do not offer league places take place at the Minstead Stinger (9 miles cross country) or the undulating roads around the Denmead 10k.